A blog reader emailed with this tantalizing proposition:
“A psychologist named Elliot Aronson has been investigating the ways in which people are hard-wired — he sees it as an evolutionary mechanism — to deny what they don’t want to admit. As a survival tactic, so to speak. Here’s the reviewer’s summary:
[Aronson follows this basic process of dissonance reduction] “through public policy, medicine, law, psychotherapy, intergroup prejudice, personal memories, and marriage. In general, people forget facts that they may have behaved stupidly or badly, they seek and believe information that confirms what they already ‘know’, and deny or dismiss contradictory evidence.
For example, drug companies will dismiss the results of studies showing that their new drugs are no better, and sometimes worse, than the cheaper varieties already available. Doctors will fail to notice symptoms that are inconsistent with their initial diagnosis. Police and prosecutors identify a prime suspect and from that moment it becomes increasingly difficult for them to consider — or even to notice — any evidence to the contrary. Even if DNA testing eventually proves the suspects innocence, some prosecutors still cannot admit — or even believe — that they were wrong.
Times Literary Supplement, March 28, 2008, p. 30.
I went back to the Rivals stadium thread and immediately saw multiple posts like this one:
* we will always have anti RU media people
* I am sure in others states the same happens. If the state was giving Univ of Mich money then alums from Mich St, C Mich, E Mich, and the other directional Mich’s will complain. The same holds true in Florida. The only difference is that those schools have donations to cover expansion and do not use state money.
In fact, so far as I can tell the entire Rivals board is one long exercise in dissonance reduction whenever the point is raised that Div IA sports might be harmful or destructive to a university: the Scarlet R types are textbook examples of those who “seek and believe information that confirms what they already ‘know’, and deny or dismiss contradictory evidence.”
The RU1000 students have decided to sponsor a contest. Playing is easy. Just read through the Rivals board looking for examples of the phenomenon described by Aronson. The person who locates and submits the most flagrant example will be awarded a classic Rutgers 1000 t-shirt.”
More details here.
Closing date: May 31.